Hospitality is an important part of Middle Eastern culture. Travelers on Middle East tours will find that they are treated very well, and small tips are often expected for services you may not think of tipping for at home.
However, the etiquette for tipping in Turkey and other parts of the Middle East tends to vary from country to country. If you’re visiting a large economic center like Dubai, you’ll find that leaving generous tips is customary. In less wealthy nations, this is not usually the case. Tipping in Egypt or tipping in Israel often involves leaving service workers a small amount of change or rounding your bill up to the next dollar amount.
Carrying extra change or small bills in the local currency can help you avoid awkward situations. Whether you’re tipping in Turkey or tipping in Egypt, you’ll find that even the smallest amounts are greatly appreciated.
Tipping in Restaurants
In many Middle Eastern countries, a service charge is added to your dining bill, usually amounting to about 10 percent of your check. This is generally the case when tipping in Egypt and Jordan. The same goes for tipping in Israel. Be sure to read your bill carefully, as this practice can differ from restaurant to restaurant.
Restaurant tipping in Saudi Arabia and Lebanon tends to be similar to the United States–15 to 20 percent is generally expected. Tipping in Turkey tends to be more reserved, usually amounting to about 5 percent of your bill.
Tipping Service Workers
Visitors on Middle East tours will encounter numerous hotel workers, drivers and tour guides. Knowing which of these people you should tip will make your stay less stressful. The etiquette for tipping in Israel will require you to leave 10 to 15 percent for taxis and a few shekels for tour guides. Service worker tipping in Turkey is often not necessary, but a few coins given to bag porters at hotels and airports will be very much appreciated.
Do Your Research
Knowing the tipping etiquette of the Middle Eastern countries you’ll be visiting is just as important as being familiar with other aspects of the culture. Consult a guidebook or ask your travel agent or tour guide for advice on tipping in each country.